A teenager from Georgia named James Townsend submitted an application for Discover credit card under a fake name Austin Townsend after finding a social security number on the internet. It’s typical ID theft case.

The social security number, however, belonged to a top US White House official.

The 17-year-old was led in front of the judge for his hearing. The judge told the teenager that he made a big mistake by messing with the wrong person.

Federal authorities did not release any information in the court about the victim who is thought to be a top executive branch official of US Secret Service.

The cash bond total was set by the teenager to $1000 for which he explained to the judges that he was just fooling around without any intention.

This crime was caught when credit agency discovered that the Social Security number on the application was different to the name. And they in turn alarmed the secret service of this situation.

As reported in Channel Two Action News, Douglas County Chief Deputy Stan Copeland said that,

He wanted a Discover card and apparently got on the computer and started Googling different areas and ended up with a particular Social Security number.

Copeland further said that:

He was not Googling any particular person. We don’t think he had any knowledge [of who it was]

Townsend faces charges and can serve almost 5 years in jail if he is proven guilty of Identity Theft Charge.

Michael Germanovsky, a top expert in personal finance has quoted these words to inform the customers about ID theft:

Unless you are going to a DMV or another government organization, avoid companies that are using Social Security numbers (SSNs) as identifiers for any type of transaction. The SSN should only remain in a database as a secondary identifier. Organizations should exercise limited use of an individual’s SSN.

Michael also gave guidelines to the users to avoid any such cases which include:

  • Avoid writing down your SS number on any internet website especially any social website
  • Do not use email to send your SS number to even your credit card company
  • Do not use a computer log in system if you have to insert the SS card number to gain access
  • Do not carry ID cards on which your SS numbers are written
  • Never store your SS number on unprotected computers

By following this advice, the ID theft cases can be avoided to minimum.